Exam Anxiety

Anyone can worry when it comes to testing, exams, or anything else that can measure our success. It is quite normal to be anxious before and during the evaluation, that is, the test. Worrying about the exam, which is a specific subject, is called exam anxiety. Test anxiety comes with performance anxiety. Many different physical and emotional symptoms such as headache, nausea, rapid heartbeat, fear, anger, restlessness, and worry can be seen in people who experience intense exam anxiety.

We usually call emotions good and bad, but when we look at them, these good and bad labels are related to the experience that emotions give people. We call those who have positive experiences good, and those who have negative experiences as bad. One of the emotions that lead to negative experiences is anxiety. People do not want to feel this test anxiety because anxiety causes negative experiences, but it is not very realistic to want anxiety to disappear completely just because it gives negative experience. Of course, it is not possible to completely eliminate test anxiety. Even if we think that it causes a negative experience, a certain level of anxiety is in a place that increases our functionality, that is, our performance. An optimal level of anxiety guides us that the exam we will take is important and that our work and performance should be good, and it enables us to shape our behavior towards that path. If I give an example, it would be to study for the functional behavior test that a young person with optimum level of test anxiety will do for the anxiety he experiences and to improve his performance.

The important point is that the frequency and intensity of test anxiety is too high. This situation harms the person and his anxiety gets in the way of what he needs to do, and as the functionality of the person deteriorates, his performance is negatively affected. Therefore, what is desired is that the person’s test anxiety level remains at an optimal level. There may be many reasons and triggers for it to exceed the optimal degree. Although these triggers vary from person to person, there may be fear of failure, lack of sufficient preparation time, negative exam experiences in the past and not wanting to experience them, exam means everything, having cognitive distortions, and uncertainties about the result.

In order not to experience exam anxiety to a degree that impairs functionality, people should pay attention to the high quality of sleep and healthy nutrition, especially in the days before the exam. Before the exam, they can do breathing exercises to relax, and instead of keeping their emotions inside and accumulating, they can use methods such as relaxing by writing down their feelings, thinking in an environment where they feel good.

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